Eager Man Awaits Slurpee Opening

When 'dat opens me getting me a Slurpee.

This is the new 7/11, formally Gloria Jeans.

Surprising to see a 'chain' store close its doors. But Gloria Jeans is not really a 'chain-store', it's a franchise, meaning local ownership of a 'Father' brand.

Subway, Gloria Jeans, Dome, Muffin Break and many of the 'chain' food stores are actually local businesses, run this way because local ingredients are necessary and food quality cannot be controlled from a single head office 4,000 kilometres way.

7/11 is a franchise, too. Franchises operate off the back of organised systems (and not because a local merchant has a burning desire to express themselves in retail). That said, without franchise systems many merchants wouldn't get their start in retail.

The argument though, is our school kids should be coming up with our next retail ideas and not our migration agents. Our migration agents are selling franchises in-toto with our business migration visas. It's no secret among the development community that once permanent residency is attainable the business is put on the market for sale; and some become cynical vehicles for entry into Australia.

But who cares? As Warren Wilmot, CEO of 7/11, says "The advantages of Asians is that work very hard and like to work together as a family." And that's good. Business migrants often bring extensive family-experience in retail with them from their hometowns. They work hard, we're told, and they favour businesses with long hours because there's more opportunity for the whole family to muck in.

We all know our Greek, Italian and Vietnamese retailers delivered that social capital to our mainstreets in spades. With no language advantage and general prejudice probably impeding other forms of employment, retail has been the vehicle for ambition and social capital in my country for as long as I've known.

And the corner delis we may look back at with pride weren't without their corporate branding: Winfield 25s; The West Australian newspapers and Coca-Cola have been on every corner shop in Australia since forever.

And whilst the children of our immigrants will soon be forced to do a medical degree at UWA, we actually want them to bring all this retail expertise back into our mainstreets as retail entreprenuerliasm and new shops. Because it's that which generates an interesting and diverse streestscape; which pumps the development community along too.

So enjoy our migration agents and franchises bringing families in to settle on our street corners. But as district managers we must be clever and have dialogue with these families.

When their residency is settled we want their retail knowledge back on our streets in a new retail businesses - not shipped off to medical degrees at UWA.

Above: 'Twas Gloria Jeans.